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Parting Thoughts on Our Gold Cup Squad

Obviously winning the Gold Cup is a wonderful achievement for the United States national team. However some lingering questions remain in my mind about the future of the national team. While Landon Donovan once again showed his quality and class when he decides he really wants to play the game (instead of hanging out on the beach or at some Hollywood party) I remain unconvinced about many of our other key players. DeMarcus Beasley was our second best attacking player in this cup, but his miss at the end of the final will probably be the lasting moment of the tournament for him in many eyes. Also, his first touch in many cases seemed to be poor and sometime he made some very bad decisions with the ball. Nonetheless, Beasley had a solid Gold Cup and will always be an automatic pick for any USA “A” match. Clint Dempsey was playing out of position the whole tournament but played well until his final touch it seemed. Still Dempsey’s role on the national team is secure, but where he will play remains in doubt.

Taylor Twellman may be the best attacking player ever in Major League Soccer. He also cannot hack it on the international level. For five years Twellman has failed to deliver when it mattered and even though I remain a fan of his in MLS, I think Bob Bradley has to move on from him. Eddie Johnson remains young, but his decision making is very worrying both on and off the ball. Brian Ching posses some genuine skill but maybe more equipped to play right behind a pure striker in the lineup.
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I was pleased with the skill both Ricardo Clark and Benny Feilhaber showed in this competition both on and off the ball. Clark seems to know his role and picks his spots to go forward. His positioning is impeccable even if his touches are somewhat suspect. Feilhaber, is a blossoming star who could be the best American player of the next generation.

Michael Bradley had a solid Gold Cup and hopefully will do well in the U-20 World Cup. Pablo Mastroeni continues to be rock but has to become less reckless with his challenges. Pablo has developed a reputation as a bit of thug, and referees throughout the world seem to be giving him less rope than most other players.

The backline still scares me. Jonathan Spector seems to be more comfortable inside, but the lack of capable man markers has forced him outside. Frankie Hedjuk is savvy but still gets himself booked way too often. Jonathan Bornstein is a genuine threat going forward but is often poorly positioned as a man marker. Frank Simek is young, and developing but isn’t quite there yet. Jay DeMerit is solid but unspectacular. Michael Parkhurst is always well positioned but seems to have trouble distributing from the back. That leaves Oguchi Onyewu “Gooch” and Carlos Bocanegra who after shaky starts showed their veteran leadership and closed the deal against Mexico with impeccable positioning, mental toughness and outstanding leadership. No wonder the Mexican fans hate them both so much!

This entry was posted in Gold Cup, Leagues: Major League Soccer, US National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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2 Responses to Parting Thoughts on Our Gold Cup Squad

  1. Sams Army says:

    Good analysis except you are way to harsh on Twellman. I don’t think he’s getting the service from Donovan and Beasley he needs to be successful. Part of the problem is that they are so comfortable with one another that they don’t read the game the same way as he does and thus he misread their crosses and movement off the ball.

  2. Adrigoal06 says:

    why do people hate eddie johnson so much? he’s the best forward the usa has hands down. twellmen doesn’t belong on this level. ching is a good one on one guy in the box. he’s not too shabby but is kinda slow wich is preventing him from being a complete forward.

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